Staff volunteer to support community during Covid-19 crisis

Staff from Leeds Rhinos Foundation and Leeds Rhinos have volunteered to support their local communities during the current Coronavirus emergency.

Twelve staff are helping out with a different projects to help the most vulnerable people in the city during this testing time.

The team of volunteers have been working with homeless charity St George’s Crypt as well as local organisations such as the New Wortley Community Centre and Kirkstall Development Trust.  So far they have been making food transfers to Leeds City Council’s selected food hubs, transporting food to Kirkstall Development Trust and packing food parcels to deliver to local people who are particularly vulnerable at this time.

The opportunity to support came after New Wortley Community Centre’s Manager Andrea Edwards reached out to Leeds Rhinos Foundation’s community club development officer Sam Horner.  From here the volunteers got to work delivering hot food meals to people in need in the Leeds 12 and 13 area.

Speaking about the work Horner said: The food delivery was very rewarding but it’s not just about these people getting their meal it’s the precious time talking to these lonely people and we are able to do this whilst keeping a safe distance and checking they are ok.  We are lucky to have family structures, but some of these people don’t have anyone.”

The charity were then contacted by Cheryl Harrington,  Funding Manager at St George’s Crypt to see how Leeds Rhinos Foundation could possibly help and they responded by offering the use of their mini bus.  This allowed Horner and his colleague, Helen Schofield, the ability to move vital food resources from the St George’s Crypt Shop and store in Armley to the designated Leeds City Council Food Hub for Kirkstall – the Kirkstall Development Trust.

Horner and Schofield have now been joined by more of their colleagues and staff from Leeds Rhinos to offer more support and over the coming weeks they will be continuing to make visits and deliver food across the community. Leeds Rhinos Foundation’s chief operating officer Bob Bowman, has also given a helping a hand by delivering food to young people who are on free school meals.

Dan Busfield, head of partnerships at Leeds Rhinos Foundation added: “Obviously this is a difficult time for all, but there are a number of people in our communities who need additional support.

“Our staff have shown compassion and a willingness to help others and will continue to do so, it’s in their make-up.  We have joined forces with a number of community organisations and I want to pay credit to Andrea Edwards and her team at New Wortley Community centre who have coordinated the food hubs in the Armley area and ensured meals and food parcels have reached those who need them most.”

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